Best DSLR cameras in 2024: Our top picks of full-frame and crop-sensor bodies

The best DSLR cameras on the market are still in high demand from some photographers, even though they're being phased out by many manufacturers in favor of mirrorless models. But there are many advantages to choosing a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, even if many of the models are a few years old now.

For starters, because they've been around for a while, it's possible to pick up a top-of-the-range DSLR camera without breaking the bank. On this list we've included a variety of models to suit all budgets — but even the most expensive are much cheaper than a high-end mirrorless camera. They may generally be a little bulkier, but in many situations they can perform just as well, and sometimes better, than their mirrorless counterparts.

We think DSLR cameras are a good place to start if you're fairly new to photography too. That's not just because a DSLR camera may be a little cheaper, but because they generally have huge ranges of compatible lenses. Because mirrorless cameras are newer, their range of native lenses tends to be smaller. For Nikon and Canon DSLRS, for example, you'll find hundreds of compatible lenses — while those companies' mirrorless models may have only a handful. The best thing is if you do decide to upgrade to mirrorless at some point, most of your lenses can still be compatible with an adapter, too.

We've written extensively about the DSLR cameras v mirrorless cameras debate and ultimately, there's no right or wrong answer. Maybe you'll prefer the modern features of a mirrorless camera or you'll prefer the substantial feel of a DSLR in your hand. It's your call, and either way, you'll find a cameras that are capable of capturing incredible images. 

If you wish to check out the competition, then we also have a round-up of the best mirrorless cameras. For newcomers to photography, you may also want to check out our best beginner cameras which has a mixture of mirrorless and DSLR cameras.

And if you're still not sure which way to go? Don't worry: we have a useful 'Should you buy a DSLR' article that might answer some questions you have. 

The quick list

Best DSLR cameras 2024

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Best overall

Best DSLR overall: An absolute powerhouse of a DSLR that outperforms many modern mirrorless cameras

Specifications

Sensor details: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 45.7MP
Lens mount: F-mount FX
Screen details: 3.2-inch LCD, 2359K dots
Max burst speed: 9FPS
Max video resolution: 4K UHD

Reasons to buy

+
Insane stills resolution
+
Blisteringly fast autofocus 

Reasons to avoid

-
Face AF not as sophisticated as eye AF
-
9FPS only possible with MB-D18 battery pack 
Buy it if

✅ You want a camera that can do anything: We thought this camera can do literally anything in any type of location, so if you want the best DSLR — here it is.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're not a pro: If you're an enthusiast with deep pockets then sure, buy it, but it's likely going to be too expensive and overkill for beginners or casual photographers.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon D850 Just about the best DSLR for professional use without paying through the nose for the D6, the Nikon D850 produces high-resolution still photographs and records full-frame 4K video at 30p. Paired with high-quality lenses, it’ll give outstanding clarity to photographs. ★★★★★

We love the NIkon D850. Not only are we rating it as the best DSLR camera here on this guide, but we've also picked it out as the best DSLR model camera for astrophotography. And in our Nikon D850 review, we called it one of the best DSLR cameras you can buy.

We're not the only ones who think so, either. The D850 is commonly cited as the greatest DSLR camera ever made, frequently being chosen by professionals and experts. Despite being released in 2017, it's every bit as capable today as it was seven years ago, creating absolutely stunning images of just about anything you can imagine.

Its 45.7-megapixel sensor is still better than many new cameras today, and if you're planning on shooting fast-moving objects, you'll love its ability to shoot at 7FPS (or 9FPS if you use a dedicated battery grip). It's showing its age slightly in its buffering speed, which is slower than some newer cameras, but considering the capabilities of this monster of a camera elsewhere, it's a fair trade-off, we think.

Despite being an expensive camera, the D850 is worth considering if you frequently switch between taking photos and shooting videos because it also supports 4K UHD and beautiful 8K time-lapse videos.

There isn't a specific style of photography that this camera lends itself to more than others because, to put it simply, it can do anything. We reviewed the Nikon D850 and loved the astrophotography-friendly features such as backlit buttons, excellent low light autofocus and good ISO noise handling capabilities. It's also compatible with practically every F-mount lens, so there is a large selection of lenses to choose from to meet your needs.

The Nikon D850 is a camera you can take everywhere, for any occasion, and get the best results without worrying about the weather or dust since it is extensively weather-sealed; even the battery grip is protected from dust and water ingress. It would be happy in any of the best locations for astrophotography and skywatching.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignExtensively weather-sealed
PerformanceInsane stills resolution & blisteringly fast autofocus
FunctionalityCan do anything, anywhere

Best for professionals

Best for pro photographers who need reliability and speed

Specifications

Sensor details: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 30.4MP
Lens mount: EF (excludes EF-S, EF-M lenses)
Screen details: 3.2-inch LCD 1620K dots
Max burst speed: 7FPS
Max video resolution: 4K DCI 30p

Reasons to buy

+
Pro-level image quality
+
Excellent autofocusing system 

Reasons to avoid

-
Too expensive for beginners
-
Big and heavy full frame camera 
Buy it if

✅ You're a pro wanting a second camera: For full-time pros looking for a second or back-up camera that can produce stunning results, this is a great model to consider.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're a beginner: This camera is aimed at pros and enthusiasts, so if you're just starting out with photography you'll want to opt for something cheaper and simpler.

The bottom line

🔎 Canon EOS 5D Mark IV While it may leave a dent in the wallet, the Canon 5D Mark IV — with its addition of Wi-Fi, GPS and touchscreen features — is ideal for enthusiasts and pro photographers seeking an all-rounder that handles well. ★★★★½

The Canon EOS 5D range has been a long-time favorite of professional photographers. The first iteration was released back in 2005, with Canon releasing incremental improvements all the way up to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which released in September 2016. 

That makes this camera almost eight years old, but it's still very impressive, and it remains a preferred choice for many experts. Unfortunately, it's unlikely we'll see a Mark V, with Canon moving headfirst into the mirrorless space, but we think this model still has plenty of life in it.

The 5D Mark IV is often praised for its durability, with many nicknaming it the "workhorse" of DSLR cameras. Its 30.4 megapixel sensor does a fantastic job of creating quality stills, but it's also more than capable for capturing video too thanks to its cinema-quality 4K DCI videos.

Although we wish it had a tilting screen, the big, detailed rear screen matches the bright optical viewfinder, and accessories can be connected through USB 3.0, HDMI out, and headphone outputs. It also has a microphone input, a flash connection connector, Wi-Fi and NFC technology to enable wireless shooting and simple image sharing.

In our Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review, we surmised that, although on the pricey side, it is ideal for enthusiasts and pro photographers seeking an all-rounder that handles well.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignBig and heavy
PerformanceExcellent performance in low light
FunctionalityNot a camera for videographers

Best for low light

Best for low light: Equally good at video this beast is perfect for astrophotography, but also excels at capturing fast action

Specifications

Sensor details: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 24.5MP
Lens mount: F-mount FX
Screen details: 3.2-inch LCD, 2359K dots
Max burst speed: 12FPS
Max video resolution: 4K UHD 30p

Reasons to buy

+
High 12FPS burst speed
+
Astounding results in low light and astro
+
Large, detailed rear LCD monitor 

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling stills resolution 
-
Easy to accidentally lock controls
Buy it if

✅ You do a lot of astro: This camera is a low light master with a remarkable ISO range and specific low light capabilities.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're a full-time pro wanting the latest tech: With the advancement of technology over the past few years, full-time professional photographers would likely want to opt for a newer model with better capabilities. It would make a great second camera, though.

You're a beginner: While not quite advanced enough anymore for the pros, it's still overkill for beginners.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon D780 Fantastic dynamic range, excellent signal-to-noise ratio in the high ISO range and intuitive and comfortable controls make this a fabulous camera to use in the dark and it performs well across multiple disciplines, not just for astro. ★★★★½

Another great Nikon camera here is the D780. It's an upgrade from the already impressive Nikon D750 and is designed for professional photographers and serious enthusiasts with a reasonable budget. The D780 has enhanced features compared to its predecessor. It includes a highly detailed rear screen with a massive 2359K dots and an impressive maximum burst speed of 12 frames per second, packed in a relatively compact size for a DSLR.

This camera is perfect for wildlife, sports and action photography because of its capabilities. It can shoot 4K UHD 30p video with 10-bit N-log recording and offers an impressive 12 stops of dynamic range. Additionally, it can shoot at 120 frames per second, which is great for capturing stunning slow-motion footage at a five times slower speed. If you're looking for a versatile and high-performance DSLR, the Nikon D780 is an excellent companion.

In our Nikon D780 review, we called this DSLR camera a "low light master", making it a great choice for astrophotographers or anyone who likes to shoot after dark. It has exceptional noise reduction, and its ISO range is extendable to 204,800. In testing, we shot some absolutely fantastic images of the night sky.

We also praised its excellent image quality, and that reason alone makes this a fantastic all-round camera. It's a great choice for all types of photography, and particularly if you dabble in more than one specialism, you'll find that it offers pleasing results in almost any situation. 

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignLightweight but feels substantial in the hand
PerformanceSuperb high ISO range and noise handling
FunctionalityOptical viewfinder great for traditionalists

Best crop sensor DSLR

Canon EOS 90D product image on a white background

The Canon EOS 90D has an APS-C crop sensor inside which makes it ideal for sports, action and also getting close-up views of the Moon. (Image credit: Canon)

Canon EOS 90D

Best APS-C DSLR: The 90D shoots fast and with exquisite detail, perfect for sports, action or close-up lunar views

Specifications

Sensor details: APS-C crop sensor CMOS
Megapixels: 32.5MP
Lens mount: EF, EF-S
Screen details: 3-inch LCD, 1040K dots
Max burst speed: 10FPS
Max video resolution: 4K UHD 30p

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning all-round stills and video performance 
+
Analogue lovers will appreciate optical viewfinder 

Reasons to avoid

-
Buffer quite slow for 10FPS 
-
Only 4K UHD video resolution 
Buy it if

✅ You want more detail: This camera has a 32.5MP APS-C sensor which produces stunningly detailed images — previously the highest resolution of a crop sensor camera.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to shoot slow-motion movies: While it does have this capability, be aware that continuous autofocus doesn't work in this mode, so anyone serious about videography would quickly get frustrated.

The bottom line

🔎 Canon EOS 90D: A powerhouse of a camera aimed at enthusiasts. It produces stunning all-round stills and video and is great for shooting close-up views of the moon with its incredibly detailed sensor. ★★★★½

The Canon EOS 90D is a bit of a step down from the cameras above it on this list because it has a crop sensor rather than a full sensor. That doesn't have to be a negative, though, particularly if you're a fan of zoom photography: The 1.5/1.6x effective crop on images acts as a perceived zoom, making objects appear closer in your stills.

Typically, crop sensor cameras don't offer as good quality images as their full-frame counterparts, but we've been blown away by the quality of shots from the 90D. It's a fantastic powerhouse of a camera, which is aimed towards enthusiasts rather than professionals. It's still a little overkill for beginners, but if you have the budget and you're willing to learn how to get the most out of a camera, it'd be a fantastic place to start, too.

The Canon EOS 90D has a 32.5MP CMOS sensor which, when this camera launched, was the highest resolution of any crop-sensor camera. It's been beaten now, but it's still a very impressive resolution size, and it does a fantastic job of capturing detail.

While having 4K DCI would be nice, the camera does fine with 4K UHD, which is more than enough for most users. It comes with an EOS iTR focus tracking system powered by a 220,000 RGB and IR metering sensor. This feature helps you keep moving subjects in focus, even if you're moving the camera around. If you want to shoot slow-motion movies, you can do so at 120FPS, but remember that continuous autofocus won't be available in this mode.

The 90D has Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system, so autofocus won't be compromised even while in live view mode, much like a mirrorless camera.

The camera feels chunky and robust, with lots of space to comfortably grip and change settings simultaneously. We would like to have two memory card slots; there is certainly enough for one more, and it would provide us more assurance during a shoot, but we can't have everything.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignChunky and robust to the touch
PerformanceEnormous 32.5MP sensor produces stunning images
FunctionalityWould like two memory card slots

Best introduction to full frame

Best introduction to full-frame: A solid camera that feels nice in the hand and boasts good weathering sealing for use in inclement weather